August Color Challenge

Well Hello August! With August comes the dog days of Summer. county fairs and music festivals. Life of a Book Addict is choosing to honor this “venerable” month with rust and gray covers. Slate, like the plummage of the Great Grey Owl and the sleek coat of the Timberwolf. Rust – the transformative reddening that occurs with exposure to the elements.

As I am behind on my reading I decided to combine this challenge with ARC Apocalypse. Below are my NetGalley and giveaway ARCS that satisfy this color scheme. Let’s see how many I can knock out this month.

The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata by Gina Apostol

  • Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover, 360 pages
  • Published January 12th 2021 by Soho Press

Raymundo Mata is a nightblind bookworm and a revolutionary in the Philippine war against Spain in 1896. Told in the form of a memoir, the novel traces Mata’s childhood, his education in Manila, his love affairs, and his discovery of the books of the man who becomes the nation’s great hero José Rizal (Rizal, in real life, is executed by the Spaniards for writing two great novels that spark revolution—the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. At the time Rizal died, he was working on a third novel, Makamisa).

Raymundo Mata’s autobiography, however, is de-centered by another story: that of the development of the book. In the foreword(s), afterword(s), and footnotes, we see the translator Mimi C. Magsalin (a pseudonym), the rabid nationalist editor Estrella Espejo, and the neo-Freudian psychoanalyst critic Dr. Diwata Drake make multiple readings of the Mata manuscript. Inevitably, clashes between these readings occur throughout the novel, and in the end the reader is on a wild chase to answer enduring questions: Does the manuscript contain Makamisa or is it Makamisa? Are the journals an elaborate hoax? And who is the perpetrator of the textual crime?

In this story about the love of books, the story of a nation emerges. But what is a nation? What The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata imagines is that through acts of reading, a nation is born.


Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby

  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Hardcover, 336 pages
  • Published July 6th 2021 by Flatiron Books

A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance.

Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.

The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.

Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.

Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.

Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby’s Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change – and maybe even redemption.


The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte A. Davis

  • Young Adult/ Western
  • Hardcover, 352 pages
  • Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Tor Teen

The Good Luck Girls are free. Aster’s sister and friends have new lives across the border in Ferron, while Aster remains in Arketta, helping more girls escape. But news of a new welcome house opening fills Aster with a need to do more than just help individual girls. And an unexpected reunion gives her an idea of how to do it. From there, grows a wildly ambitious plan to free all dustbloods, who live as prisoners to Arketta’s landmasters and debt slavery.

When Clementine and the others return from Ferron, they become the heart of a vibrant group of fearless fighters, working to unite the various underclasses and convince them to join in the fight. Along the way, friendships will be forged, lives will be lost, and love will take root even in the harshest of circumstances, between the most unexpected of lovers.

But will Arketta’s dustbloods finally come into power and freedom, or will the resistance just open them up to a new sort of danger?


The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

  • Young Adult/Fantasy
  • Hardcover, 384 pages
  • Published June 1st 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire

For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.

In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.

In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.

In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.


A Pair of Wings: A Novel Inspired by Pioneer Aviatrix Bessie Coleman by Carole Hopson

  • Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover, 332 pages
  • Published June 15th 2021 by Jet Black Press

A Pair of Wings is an epic novel about the life of pioneer aviatrix Bessie Coleman. Arriving in Chicago in 1915, Coleman is in the first wave of African Americans to be part of the Great Migration, the largest movement of Black people fleeing the agricultural South towards the promise of opportunity in the North.

By 1921, America was a nation of change, steeped in both turmoil and progress. Jim Crow laws forced segregation in the South, lynchings terrorized, prohibition loomed, and Tulsa, Oklahoma smoldered after being bombed from the air. While American women had just earned the right to vote, Coleman can find no one willing to teach a Black woman to fly. Undaunted, she learns French and travels by ship to France in order to fulfill her dream of earning a brevet.

As the 1920s progress, Coleman comes of age, and both aviation and the Great Migration continue in parallel. Hardscrabble and burnished, Coleman becomes the only woman in the world to compel these lines of latitude to bend and intersect. Just as she translates deftly from English to French, she also converts wargame maneuvers into daring, graceful, and swashbuckling performances which she brings back to the United States. This fearless woman inspires a nation, earning the nicknames Daredevil, Queen Bess, and Brave Bessie for her breathtaking airshows.

A full century after her accomplishments, Coleman’s story is brought to life by author Carole Hopson. A United Airlines pilot who flies the Boeing 737, Hopson, considers Bessie Coleman the pioneer who cut the path for her and believes that it is her job to continue Coleman’s work to make that path wider for those who follow. It’s Coleman’s bold determination and courage that lifted Hopson, as well as an entire people upon A Pair of Wings.


The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes

  • Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover, 352 pages
  • Expected publication: December 28th 2021 by Kensington Books

Set against the lush backdrop of early twentieth century Ecuador and inspired by the real-life history of the coastal town known as the birthplace of cacao, this captivating #OwnVoices novel from the award-winning author of The Sisters of Alameda Street tells the story of a resourceful young chocolatier who must impersonate a man in order to survive…

Puri inherited two things from her father: a passion for chocolate, and a cacao plantation located in Ecuador. After learning the art of chocolate-making from her grandmother, Puri opened a chocolate shop in her native Spain. But the Great War that devastated Europe has also ruined her business. Eager to learn more about the source of her beloved chocolate, Puri sets out across the ocean with her husband, Cristóbal. But someone is angered by Puri’s claim to the plantation…

When a mercenary sent to murder her aboard the ship accidentally kills Cristóbal instead, Puri dons her husband’s clothes and assumes his identity, hoping to stay safe while she learns the truth. Though freed from the rules that women are expected to follow, Puri confronts other challenges at the plantation—newfound siblings, hidden affairs, and her father’s dark secrets. Then there are the dangers awakened by her attraction to an enigmatic man as she tries to learn the identity of an enemy who is still at large, threatening the future she is determined to claim.


Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

  • Contemporary, Translation
  • Hardcover, 160 pages
  • Published April 27th 2021 by Knopf

Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father’s untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will change.

This is the first novel she has written in Italian and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.


Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

  • Historical Fiction/Mystery
  • Hardcover, 336 pages
  • Expected publication: September 14th 2021 by Doubleday

“Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…”

To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home.

Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time.

Cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn’t ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweler downtown who doesn’t ask questions, either.

Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa — the “Waldorf of Harlem” — and volunteers Ray’s services as the fence. The heist doesn’t go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and other assorted Harlem lowlifes.

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs?

Harlem Shuffle’s ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately
a love letter to Harlem.

But mostly, it’s a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.

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